What No One Tells You About Industrial Automation Marketing (Part 1)

Note: This is part one of a six part series I wrote for the blog for my day job, ISA Interchange.

So you’re a marketer in an industrial automation company. You’ve got it down, right? At this point, you could probably do it with your eyes shut.

Automation marketing isn’t hard, you might tell yourself. You might think you just need to follow the tried-and-true “rules:”

  • Write up a jargon-filled technical whitepaper to use as a lead magnet and drop it on your completely self-promotional and robotic-sounding LinkedIn page. You’ll add more unfortunate souls to your email list so you can send them a ton of spam they don’t really want, full of things they probably won’t buy.
  • Don’t forget to write your sixteenth email of this week about one of your products! Double points if it’s poorly formatted, not personalized, and just a wall of plain text.
  • Have you bought a list that’s several years out-of-date from a vendor at a trade show? Nobody wins without buying email lists!
  • Have you written a bunch of press releases about minor updates to your products? The public at large is just waiting for those with bated breath, you know!
  • We can’t forget social media! It’s where the kids go to “snap the faces” or something like that, right? Not us! We’re far too important to be anywhere except LinkedIn—and we absolutely have to be as “professional” as possible there. How else will people understand we’re a serious company if we don’t sound stuffy and dry?

I mean, it’s the same thing you’ve been doing for years. The game doesn’t change that much, right?

This is what high-quality marketing to engineering professionals looks like, right?

Wrong. (With the stiff dose of sarcasm up front, you probably already guessed where I was going with this.)

As the digital marketing specialist for the International Society of Automation (ISA)—with a background in marketing multiple industries such as eCommerce for major for-profit brands, real estate and rentals, and more—I’ve seen a lot of what I just described being done in the industrial automation space. If you’re still doing anything I mentioned above to advertise or develop marketing collateral for your business, please stop it. These methods are played-out, don’t work, and in some cases, put you at risk for lawsuits.

Think about it: where does that approach really get you? Five or six “likes” on LinkedIn? Emails sent to 10k people that pull about 500 clicks and maybe three sales? In terms of personnel hours and effort, what’s your return on investment?

You just launched three different pieces of collateral, and you look in Google Analytics and see your “direct” traffic is still higher than any other channel. Setting aside the fact that you probably have an attribution problem in Google Analytics, what did all your hard work really accomplish?

Well, I’m here to tell you there is a better way. How do I know?

Because I’ve done it. The team at ISA has done it.

We aren’t perfect, but we’ve transformed ISA marketing from a traditional, old-school setup into a digital-first mode for the 21st century and beyond. We’ve expanded our brand, allowing us to stay relevant and keep our doors open, even during a pandemic—not bad for your favorite non-profit organization, right?

In this upcoming series, I’m going to let you all in on how we transformed ISA’s marketing into a modern, streamlined team that has:

  • Increased our social media presence across all channels (even some that “accepted knowledge” would insist wouldn’t be a good fit for us) and increased traffic more than 1000%
  • Cleaned up our email methods and lists, which has drastically increased our deliverability, clicks, and conversions while decreasing our bounces, unsubscribes, and spam complaints
  • Optimized our blog, website, and landing pages for organic search engines for increased findability and conversions using SEO and content marketing strategies
  • Built our brand with new brand voice tests, awareness campaigns, and video marketing 
  • Expanded into new, modern methods of marketing and advertising that most automation companies wouldn’t even touch, such as audio and CTV advertising

But before all that, in the next article in this series, we’re going to start with the most important thing of all. The one thing that will hold your marketing team back from being great faster than any other obstacle—knowing and admitting there’s a problem with your marketing. As the famous TV psychologist says, you can’t fix what you don’t acknowledge, so that’s what the very next article will be about.

Join us next time when you’ll learn how to identify issues with your current marketing techniques, how to bring the issues up with your supervisors and colleagues (even when they don’t know or want to admit there is an issue with the status quo!), and what to do about the problems you find.

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